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She carries fire and stone in her heart

So, while I was walking at lunchtime, I was mugged by a sestina. This arrived in my head pretty fully formed, and all I had to do was make sure the lines came in the right order, and that the syllables fell out right. I do not know who the writing character is, nor exactly what happened.

She carries fire and stone in her heart

Flames rise. There is a pounding in the blood.
It begins as it was never written
There is nobody who would have been close
Enough. None who knew that scent of leather,
None who knew the way her grey eyes were stone,
And none who knew the way her words were fire;

Except me. And even now, watching fire
Take all that she was away, there is blood
Between us. That will never change, though the stone
I stand on, her epitaph is written
On, should crack and crumble, like old leather.
I turn, and see, the guards are coming close.

From the ghat, it's easy to leave. So close
To the heart of the city. Perhaps the fire
That will burn there will last. Or the leather
She still wears - wore - will be noticed. The blood
Of cattle is not spilled here. Written
Accounts abound, of those pelted by stone

And stick for striking a cow. But no stone
Will ever hurt her again. Even close
To her departure, I am glad. Written
Words will never capture that fast-burnt fire
Between us. The grey sadness in my blood
Is matched by anger. And her leather

Burns. I catch the scent; there is no leather
Here to burn, but hers. Now between the stone
Steps, I go quickly. Not born here, her blood
Comes from farther places, and I must be close
To the time to go. To carry the fire
Or word of it, abroad. I have written

To them. But, perhaps, I should have written
Sooner. Now, when I go (cars with leather
Seats will meet me, how strange) they'll still need fire
From her, and not yet really know, that stone
Is all that's left. We never came so close
To what she lived for, wanted, her blood

Desire, written ancestral fire, as when she
Died. The blood, the leather, all of this will
Need to be kept close. To be cast in stone.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 25th, 2010 01:50 pm (UTC)
It sounds rather China Mieville. The many uses/faces of leather are interesting, especially the juxtaposition with stone.
May. 25th, 2010 02:42 pm (UTC)
Love this poem & the last one!
May. 25th, 2010 06:32 pm (UTC)
I told you so. :-)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


The Wizard of Duke Street
The Wizard of Duke Street
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